Rehabilitation Workers work with people who have a visual impairment, to develop or adapt their existing skills and abilities, enabling them to lead an independent life.
From initial assessment of an individual client’s needs and planning a mutually-agreed training program, the rehabilitation worker will teach communication, mobility and living skills .

We love our dogs for many reasons—they’re confidants, walking partners, and companions. But what if your life depended on a dog every single day? This is what it means for a person to have a Guide Dog.

Guide Dogs was set up in 1931 to give blind and partially-sighted people greater independence. Seventy years later, we’re recognized as the world leader for breeding and training guide dogs. These exceptionally trained animals are still very much the center of all our work and the sight of a guide dog and its owner getting on with life has become so familiar that it hardly causes a stir.

Dogs are so much like children. When they learn and understand something new, their eyes take on a light like nothing else.
Guide Dogs is the world’s largest breeder and trainer of working dogs and every year around 1,200 would-be guide dogs are born to our brood bitches, specially chosen for their intelligence and temperament. Guide Dogs is securing the future of its breeding stock by freezing semen.
If puppies are to become good guide dogs they must not only have the right parents; they must also be brought up properly.
At 6-8 weeks old, the pups have their first taste of guide dog training. Volunteer puppy walkers introduce the young pups to the sights, sounds and smells of a world in which they will play such an important part. This will mean taking the dogs on buses and trains, into shops and along busy streets. The puppy walker will also teach the puppy to walk ahead on the leash (not ‘to heel’) as it will once a guide dog, and to obey simple commands such as ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’.
When the pup is about a year old it returns to Guide Dogs for the next part of its important training. This can be a sad time for the puppy walker, but they are rewarded with the knowledge that they have helped raise a dog who will one day act as someone’s eyes.

Once in the comfort of their new homes, the pups begin to learn about their environment. They learn basic obedience and good manners, and are socialized to the world. In addition to learning good house behaviors, the pups are exposed to a variety of situations, places and people. They accompany their raisers just about everywhere. Here are a few examples of the places our puppies are socialized:

  • grocery stores
  • school and work
  • restaurants
  • shops and malls
  • trains, planes and automobiles!

Our puppies have the pleasure of living with their raiser families for 14 to 18 months before returning to our school for formal training to become guides.
A Guide Dog puppy should be exposed to a variety of socialization experiences. Puppy raisers take their pups to malls, grocery stores, school and work, among other places. Many times, the puppy raising group’s regularly scheduled meetings will include outings specifically designed for puppy socialization. Leaders also teach the raisers appropriate ways in which to expose the puppies to a wide range of socialization experiences.
Puppy raisers are responsible for teaching puppies good behavior both at home and in public, and what to expect and accept in this busy world. Raisers also rear the pups to be close companions—to trust and be trusted. The raisers’ goal is to develop energetic and curious pups into mature, dependable dogs that have the following characteristics:

  • Well-behaved: The pups have good house manners and will not relieve in the house. They are quiet and calm, eat only their own food and are not destructive.
  • Socialized to the world: The pups have been exposed to a wide variety of people, things and places and accept new situations in a calm manner.
  • Well-traveled: The puppies are relaxed and comfortable when traveling in all modes of transportation: cars, buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, etc.
  • People-friendly: The pups bond well with people, enjoy receiving verbal praise and are eager to please.
  • Animal-friendly: The pups are calm and appropriate around all sorts of animals including other dogs, cats, birds, livestock, etc.
  • Responsive: The pups obey basic commands and are cooperative during various training exercises.

The actual training where the dogs learn the specific skills and commands to be Guide Dogs is done on our campuses once the dogs are returned to us by our professional staff of Guide Dog Mobility Instructors. Guidework training takes an average of four months to complete.

• Occupational Maternity scheme
• Occupational Paternity scheme
• Occupational Sick Pay scheme
• Holiday & Compassionate leave
• Eye Care scheme
• Employee Assistance Program (advice on personal & work related issues)
• Permanent health insurance (long term sickness)
• ‘Death in Service’ benefit (4 x basic salary)
• Childcare Voucher scheme
• Long Service awards
• Final Salary Pension scheme
• Personal Accident scheme
• Dog friendly environment

Healthy guide dogs:

The health of a guide dog is paramount. Once an owner has qualified with their dog, Guide Dogs’ staff pay regular aftercare visits to ensure the dog and owner are continuing to work safely together and to check that the dog is being cared for to the required standard.

All guide dogs are registered with a local veterinary surgeon and have routine check-ups every six months. And, dog care and welfare advisers at Guide Dogs will always be on hand to provide advice on caring for your dog throughout its working life.
However, there are many things that a guide dog owner (or an owner of a pet dog) can do to look after the health, welfare and happiness of their dog.

What if the puppy I am walking has a health problem?

If your puppy has a minor health problem then please take him to the local veterinary surgeon you have agreed with your puppy-walking supervisor. If the puppy has persistent illness or the problem appears more severe, then your puppy-walking supervisor will arrange for one of the Guide Dogs’ regional vets to examine the puppy. This is especially important if x-rays or other investigations are envisaged

Sources: Guide dogs, Dogs for blind

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